"You can get a great workout at home with just a few key pieces of equipment," said Gayle Williams, Consumer Reports.
First, get a cushy floor mat. It can save you from hard floors and itchy carpets. You can use it for sit-ups, yoga and stretching. The mat only costs about $15 to $20.
If you think you need fancy machines to tone muscles and do strength training, think again.
"Dumbbells and elastic bands are great for improving and keeping muscle toned," said Williams.
You should get at least two sets of dumbbells; one for regular use and a heavier pair for more challenging workouts. A set should cost about $15 each.
Consumer Reports also recommends buying two pairs of elastic bands as well. The bands should have different levels of resistance. The bands cost about $10 to $15.
For core workouts, you can do sit-ups or invest in a stability ball. It can add a variety of new moves to improve your core muscles. A stability ball costs anywhere from $20 to $40.
For a cardio workout, a treadmill can be great. However, Consumer Reports says you can save money and space.
"There are so many good workout DVDs out there and they only cost about $15. You want to make sure you're looking for one that has a combination of strength, flexibility and cardio routines," said Williams.
The bottom line is that you can get a great workout without spending big bucks. But once you're set up at home, you can't make any excuses.
Consumer Reports also tested treadmills. They say the ProForm CrossWalk 580 IS, which is $500, is great for walking workouts. If running is more your speed, the PaceMaster Platinum Pro VR is a Consumer Reports best buy at $2,000.
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